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The Ultimate Fabric Measuring Guide

Table of Contents

Measuring is a very important part of sewing.

If you can’t measure your fabric, you can’t know how much to cut, when to stop stitching, how to sew pieces together, and much more.

Therefore, it is essential that you know your measurements like the back of your hand, as well as how to convert.

Many measurements will start out in one unit, such as feet or inches, but you might want it in another unit, such as yards.  This is where measurement conversion comes in handy.

So, get ready, because in this essential fabric measuring guide you will learn five very important aspects of measures: how many feet in a yard, how many inches in a yard, measurement conversion, and how to read a tape measure.

1. Knowing How Many Feet are in a Yard

Something extremely important when sewing and measuring fabric is knowing how many feet are in a yard.

Most of the time, fabric is measured in yards and sometimes meters.  Therefore, it is essential to know how to convert common measurements such as feet and inches into a yard.

There are a total of three feet in one yard.  So, if you have a piece of fabric that measures fifteen feet, you have three yards.

Fabric Width Conversion

2. Knowing How Many Inches are in a Yard

Inches are another very common and important unit of measurement.

To know how many inches are in a yard, you must first know how many inches are in a foot, which is why we discussed feet first.

As most people know, there are a total of twelve inches in one foot.  So, going back to our fifteen foot example, there are 180 inches in fifteen feet.

You get this number simply by multiplying twelve (or, the number of inches) by fifteen (the number of feet).

Now let’s take it a step further.

If we know that there are a total of three feet in one yard, then how many inches is that?

Well, by doing the math, there are 36 inches in 3 feet, which ultimately means there are 36 inches in one yard.

3. Measurement Conversion

Now that we know all of our measurements, it’s time to learn how to convert them into the proper units we want to use.

This process is very simple.

To convert one unit of measurement into another, all you need to know is how many feet or inches make up a yard, as we learned earlier.

It’s as simple as multiplying and dividing.

For example, if you have a piece of fabric that is forty five yards long, but you want your measurement to be in feet, you simply multiply forty five by three (the number of feet in a yard).  After doing that math, you get a result of 135 feet.

Additionally, you can flip it.  If you have forty five feet but want to know how many yards that measurement is, you simply divide instead of multiply.  As a result, you get fifteen yards as your new measurement.

Something that might be useful is conversion charts.

If measurements and their conversions is something hard for you to grasp, never fear! There are a variety of conversion charts available online and on websites such as Pinterest for you to use as a reference.

Additionally, most conversion charts also give you units in meters as well as yards, which also comes in handy.

4. Knowing How to Read a Tape Measure

Something that will also be extremely useful throughout your sewing career is knowing how to read a tape measure, also commonly known as a measuring tape.

Tape measures tell you how long something is, and in the case of sewing, this is very useful when wanting to know the measurement of a piece of fabric or leather.

However, tape measures can be tricky to read and understand.

How to Read a Tape Measure

For one thing, it is important to note that as increments decrease, do does the length of the mark.

This means that in the case of fractions, the larger the denominator, the smaller the actual number.  For example, ½ is bigger than ¼, and ¼ is bigger than 1/8.

Secondly, it is helpful to know that the measurements on a tape measure are almost always in inches, which means if you want to convert those inches into yards, you must multiply the measurement by 36.

Most measuring tapes go down to 1/16 of an inch, and others even to 1/32.

It’s a Little Important to Know How to Measure Your Fabric

In your sewing career, you will use these measurements, measurement conversions, and measuring tapes many, many times.

Hence, it is extremely important to have a good understanding of how they work and how to use them to your advantage.

Besides, you don’t want to end up with a design shorter or longer than you intended.

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